Monday, October 31, 2011

Answers: Geriatric Park

"So, I was hoping you could help. I'm a 23 year-old girl and I'm dating a 34 year old man. We've been seeing each other for about a year and it's getting pretty serious.
My trouble isn't with my relationship, it's with my family. My parents both say that he's too old for me. I'm their only child.
I've tried talking with them. Part of the problem is that one of my aunts is 33. My mother keeps bringing it up, but I can't help it if her mother (my grandmother) decided to have kids (8 of them) into her 40s.
So, in short, how do I tell my mom that I'm possibly going to marry this older man and get her to respect it. My father will probably go along with whatever mom says."

Well, Steve--oh wait you asked me not to call you by commonly male name, umm--Dear Sally,

Lets start with the really poor argument your mom is advancing concerning the age of your aunt. Holy Non Sequitur, Batman. what the hell does the age of your aunt have to do with a damn thing? I have personally met people with aunts like three years younger than them. By your mom's logic when they were sixteen they would be obliged to date people who are twelve.

Not one bit.
"No sir, I don't like it."
 Also it is just a really stupid argument.

Now to the main event, yo.

So I asked you in a follow up email if you thought that if the guy was magically a bit younger you really thought all your mom's objections toward him would also disappear. Your answer suggested that you were of the opinion that she has much more against this guy than his age. So on that front it sounds like you need to have a sit down with your moms and find out what her real problems with this dude are. It prolly won't be an easy conversation, but it's one you need to have if you want to have a good chance at making both your moms and yourself happy at the same time! It may turn out that she has some important shit to say even if you have to dig it out of her.

But maybe not. Maybe what you've got here is a mom with some goofy ideas. Maybe ones she doesn't even understand herself. I don't have anywhere near enough info to try and sort out what they might be, let alone whether they're good, bad or neutral. If after making your best effort to try and sort out her real objections and weigh them for validity you have some choices to make. (Not saying your mother doesn't have some kind of actual negative reaction to the guys age, just that, even so, she has something else on her mind.)

If she makes sense and convinces you that dude is bad fucking news, well, then the choice is pretty straight forward. Boot to ass; end of story, bun in the oven notwithstanding. (From a follow-up email again. Try to keep up guys.)

If, however, she fails to make sense, or her objections are not real enough to matter then you have a somewhat harder choice and it's time to weigh costs.

If you decide that your mother is more competent to run your life than you are then it's still walking time, but I rather hope you're nice about it.

If you instead decide to put on your big girl pants and find that there is no cause against your man, then you're going to have to just suck up the cost of making that choice. That's the really real world. If your mom refuses to accept your choices it will cause damage to your relationship. For most people this is mostly a short-term thing as people are really good at adapting to shit they never thought they would, but you know you moms better than I do. Weigh that cost as honestly as you can and decided if you're willing to pay it.

Normally I would suggest you could reduce the cost of choosing to stand by your man by just taking it a little slowly. This would have gone a-ways toward both proving the value of your relationship to your mother,  as well as give you some time and space to make sure that dude really is the man-o'-your-dreams/mister-right/ oh-my-god-he's-the-living-end that you prolly think he is.

In your case, your ass is on the clock. With a positive pregnancy result you have one more rather important decision to make: baby with this guy, a baby without this guy, or no baby (either with or without this guy). Maybe that upsets you to think on. Sorry, but it's fact.

Weigh the questions separately. Deciding to stay with a guy because you are pregnant is a recipe for disaster.

This may sound impossible, but if you sit down and really ask what it will mean to make this choice without paying attention to how comfortable the answers are, you'll almost certainly find, that in the great many years that will comprise the rest of your life, the hour of discomfort will be more than offset by the decades of living with a really good decision.

So, that's it. Step one: find the facts. Step two: weigh them. Step three: chose. Step four: pay the piper.

Special thanks to the Junior Executive for Geriatric Affairs for consultations in this matter.

Yours in the sense that we all live together on the same planet and shit,

the aspiring rationalist

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